SGA refines free taxi service

Download the LiveSafe app to access Wildcab on campus. 

McKenna Horsley

For students who are stuck in an unfamiliar place, getting a safe ride home is as easy as opening an app on your phone.

Kentucky Wildcab is a Student Government Association program that students can use to request free rides on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. It will replace the Cats Cab program, which started in 2013. 

The program can be accessed through the LiveSafe app, said SGA Kentucky Wildcab Coordinator Ross Boggess. Students are then prompted to use the TransLoc app, which also shows bus schedules, to request rides. 

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Boggess, an Integrated Strategic Communication and Community and Leadership Development sophomore, said Kentucky Wildcab has two Chrysler minivans, two handicap-accessible MV-1 vans and a Sprinter van, which holds 12 people. 

“It’s very similar to Uber or Lyft, and is app-based,” he said. Students receive a text when their ride is enroute and when it arrives. 

Kentucky Wildcab began hauling students last Thursday and has gotten a lot of positive feedback, Boggess said. He said drivers and passengers are both enjoying the experience.

The program’s goal is to pick up students within 10 to 15 minutes after students request a ride. Boggess said Kentucky Wildcab met that goal during its first weekend. He said some glitches happened, but SGA worked with TransLoc to fix those problems. 

All drivers for Kentucky Wildcab are UK students, Boggess said. Parking & Transportation Services hires the drivers and trains them on what to do if a student whose health is in danger, he said. Drivers who pick up students with health concerns are instructed to take them to the hospital. 

“This program is not something that people get in trouble for,” Boggess said. “There’s not a reporting process for underage drinking or anything like that.”

He said SGA decided to reinvent the program after experiencing issues last year with the taxi service that used to run Cats Cab. Kentucky Wildcab is managed through the university without an outside service. 

“The intent with everything last year was to get you home safe, but we realized there’s more to a weekend than just getting home safe,” Boggess said. 

Kentucky Wildcab is about giving students rides everywhere safely, such as to a party, to the library or even to Cook Out. Boggess said SGA wanted students to be safe throughout the night. 

Boggess said a few other universities have a safe ride program and the trend is growing, but UK is one of the first to make the program on-demand. 

“We are able to set the pace for what other universities could be doing to make their services safer for students,” he said. 

SGA funds Kentucky Wildcab through their student fee, Boggess said.